Hiking in the Valley of Fire

Date of Journey May 2016
David Bailey Milton Keynes

My wife and I have travelled to the USA dozens of times since our first visit in the 1990s. We have enjoyed every visit and, as the years passed, we found our focus of interest to be in the desert areas, where we go hiking and taking photographs.

In May of 2016 we flew into Las Vegas and used that city as the base of operations for our hiking.

The flight had been OK - i.e. tedious - and there usually comes a point where the flight crew lower the cabin temperature. I always carry a Rohan Microgrid Stowaway fleece with me on planes. It occupies almost no storage space and is perfect for raising my body temperature at such times and is so easy to put on when confined to a ‘plane seat. Not to mention it is comfortable to wear.

Our current favourite desert location is Valley of Fire in southern Nevada. It is only 60 miles north of Sin City, on I15 and the sights are stunning: reds, pinks and whites displayed in the rocks of the park. Very few Vegas visitors make the trip to VoF and most of those who do, do not venture beyond the car park at each of the visitor sights. 

The Fire Wave is a 3/4 mile walk from car park 3 and you will find truly amazing red and white striped rock patterns.

White Domes is a one mile loop with beautiful scenery along the way.

Both hikes are very short - but do not underestimate the heat. In mid-summer the temperature can reach 120 deg F. Take lots of water.

We decided to end our visit, that day, by taking a 4.5 mile loop hike from Atlatl Rock.

After one missed turn (and an inadequate map) we realised that we were well off track. 4.5 miles soon became 8 miles and no end of trail in sight. At 10.4 miles I recognised our location. We were back in White Domes and the vast quantity of water that we had carried was dwindling. 

It had been an amazingly beautiful and enjoyable hike along a dry wash (not good if it’s a wet wash!). 

We then had two options: walk back 10.4 miles down the wash or seek a lift back towards the park Ranger station and walk the remaining 3+ miles from there. Two Dutch ladies gave us a ride back to the Ranger station and we did walk the rest of the way. A great day - but it could so easily have turned nasty.

Always carry too much water in the desert.

The Rohan Bags trousers were really light and comfortable and, when wet, dry in minutes. Great for hot hikes, as well as for flights and evening wear.

Can’t wait to get back to VoF again next year for yet more photographs and hikes.